Tarragon – Mexican

(Tagetes lucida)

Also called Mexican mint marigold, Texas tarragon, and occasionally yerba anise, this plant is a great substitute for true French tarragon in warm humid climates where French tarragon wanes in the summer. The leaves have a similar anise-like flavor and can be used in soups, or for fish, chicken salad, and other dishes calling for tarragon. Although it is technically an annual, Mexican tarragon is an evergreen perennial in zone 9. The pretty plants bloom in late summer and fall. They make great additions to an herb garden or flower bed, and also do well in containers.

  • Type Perennial in zone 9
  • Planting time Spring, after the last frost
  • Features Aromatic leaves, yellow flowers in late summer and fall
  • Light Sun to part shade
  • Soil Light, well drained, on the dry side
  • Plant spacing 18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size 14 to 30 inches tall
  • Garden use Herb garden, flower border, containers, butterfly garden
  • Culinary use As a substitute for French tarragon

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

Categories: , SKU: 715339012432
At a glance
Nutrition Information

Light requirements: Full sun to part shade.

Planting: Space 18 to 24 inches apart.

Soil requirements: Plants grow best in light, well-drained soil on the dry side. Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter and/or sand to improve drainage, or grow plants in raised beds.

Water requirements: Plants are drought tolerant, but will be fuller and flower best if soil provides adequate moisture. In containers, irrigate whenever the top inch of soil is dry.

Frost-fighting plan: Mexican tarragon is perennial in zones 9 to 11. A hard freeze (temperatures below 28º F) can kill established plants. In zone 8, plants frequently resprout from roots following a hard freeze. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the growing season in fall. In colder zones, grow as an annual or in a container you can bring indoors for winter.

Common issues: In poorly draining or heavy soil, plants often succumb to root rot. Otherwise, Mexican tarragon rarely suffers from pests or diseases.

Growing tip: Stems that fall over and touch the ground take root, causing plants to spread. If flowers are allowed to set seed, plants will reseed.

Harvesting: Pick leaves at any point in the growing season, although flavor is most intense just before plants bloom. Flower petals are also edible. To harvest, snip leafy stems to the length you desire. Stems rapidly produce new growth.

Storage: Keep a few stems in water at room temperature to enjoy fresh clippings for a few days. Wrap unwashed stems in a barely damp paper towel and slip into a plastic bag. Store stems in the lowest part of your refrigerator. Use within 4 to 5 days. Dried leaves don’t taste as good as fresh. Preserve in herbal vinegars or by freezing.

For more information, visit the Tarragon page in our How to Grow section.

Nutrition Facts

1 tablespoon, dried:
  • Calories: 14
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 4% DV
  • Vitamin C: 4%
  • Vitamin K: 0%
  • Vitamin B6: 7%
  • Folate: 3%
  • Potassium: 4%
  • Manganese: 19%

Nutritional Information

Each serving of French tarragon is packed with 19 percent of the daily requirement of manganese, an antioxidant which helps strengthen bones, collagen, and connective tissue. Tarragon also helps create fatty acids and cholesterol, as well as glycogen—a substance integral to energy and movement. French tarragon is the classic culinary tarragon. Many gardeners in hot, humid regions use Mexican mint marigold—also known as Mexican or Texas tarragon—as a substitute.